Causey, Brewer taken into custody

(L) Brewer, (R) Causey
(L) Brewer, (R) Causey

(Columbia) November 3, 2005 - 39-year-old Johnny Brewer and 35-year-old Jimmy Causey have been taken into custody without incident at a Jasper County motel.

According to SLED chief Robert Stewart, Ridgeland Police made the arrest. They say one of the two ordered a large meat-lover's pizza from Buck's Pizza. That escapee told the driver they would be in the shower and to just come into the room, leave the pizza and take the money left sitting out. Shop owner Judy Trainer was on the alert, "I cooked it. I looked at Danielle and I said, 'Danielle, if I'm gone any more than 30 minutes send the police after me.' We were making a joke because they were scared in here because they were on the loose."

When Trainer took the pizza to the motel, the man who ordered was in the shower and did not show his face, and there was not enough money. The man eventually came out of the shower to settle up, and Trainer says, "Something about that delivery just didn't make sense to me. He tried to get me in that room and I wouldn't go all the way in. But I grabbed that money off there, you know, and then jumped back out."

Trainer returned to the shop, told her husband and he told the cops. When police arrived, both Causey and Brewer were there and gave themselves up.

Trainer says she intends to apply for the $5,000 reward offered for information leading to the escapees' arrest. She says she deserves it.

According to Chief Stewart, the two were found at the Palm's motel in Ridgeland. That is on the southern end of the state, and is about 110 miles south of the Columbia prison the men escaped from.

They told the personnel there that they didn't have a car or luggage because their car was broken down on the highway. The man who signed in didn't have identification either, but he did have cash.

Motel owner Kiran Shah, "Because the car was broken down and they were helpless, so she say, 'Okay check them in.' We had no idea at all they were escapees."

A maid at the motel says Causey was very friendly. She says he asked for a refund while his fellow escapee was being cuffed.

The two men had been seen in the area on Tuesday evening, several hours after their escape. That's apparently the day they checked into the motel.

SLED recovered the car that the two inmates were seen in, and Tuesday night they questioned Ashley Bostic, who was also seen with the men. On Thursday, Richland County deputies arrested Bostic and charged her with harboring an escaped convict, for the fact she knowingly assisted Causey and Brewer in getting out of Richland County.

According to arrest warrants, Bostic confessed to driving Causey and Brewer to Ridgeland in Jasper County to help them get away.

Richland investigators also charged Causey's half-brother, Steven Goodwin, with obstruction of justice and misprision of a felony. Goodwin's fiancee Kate Tilley was charged with misprision of a felony and harboring an escaped convict.

Investigators think the Causey and Brewer escaped from the Broad River facility in a trash truck. Jon Ozmint, director of the South Carolina Department of Corrections, says Causey and Brewer were responsible for serving breakfast to inmates. They were also responsible for cleaning up and taking the trash out.

They were normally up at 5am, before most of the inmates. Right now investigators are looking into the possibility that they escaped in a trash truck, which leaves around 6am.

Policy is to compact the trash, according to Ozmint, "Normally when a dumpster leaves an institution we require it be compacted in case an inmate is in there."

"For some reason we don't believe that happened this morning, so obviously we're checking on that."

Ozmint also says a head count was performed at 7am and all were accounted for. When asked how the escapees were passed over at the head count, Ozmint responds, "People are fallible. People make mistakes. Sometimes people get tired. Sometimes you just don't have enough of them. That's why you'll always have people escape, that's why you've always had them. We don't accept them. We try to learn from them."

The officer whom investigators say did not notice Causey and Brewer missing is still on the job. Ozmint says the officer will be there through the investigation.

Around 8:30 Tuesday morning, investigators say anonymous callers told the Richland County Sheriff's Department they saw Jimmy Causey near Leesburg Road.

The prison learned about Causey's sighting around 9. They confirmed the two men missing about two hours later.

SLED Chief Robert Stewart says the escape is under investigation, "Well certainly you'd like to know of an escape as soon as possible. But all of that is under review and under investigation at this time and we're certain to make a full report as to the findings."

Now that Causey and Brewer are back at prison, they will face solitary confinement in an eight-square-foot concrete block cell. They eat and shower in the cell and have no privileges, no time outside and no contact with anyone except their lawyers. The prison director say it's a way to ensure they don't get out again.

Updated 8:40pm by Bryce Mursch